Colonial Pipeline delays restart of gas lines until Tuesday

04 September, 2017, 06:50 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • Storm Harvey paralyses a fifth of US fuel output

"The good news is we have ample supply of gasoline, so we look in the supply department, but I can't tell you how high prices are going to get", said Tiffany Wright, Spokesperson for AAA. Harvey is "reducing flow from pipelines as well as shutting down some refineries, which is in turn tightening gasoline supplies". But Thursday morning it got worse: Colonial Pipeline announced it shut down a main line that supplies 40 percent of the South's gasoline.

Gasoline prices have been on the rise even before the pipeline shutdown.

Almost one-third of the nation's refining capacity is along the Gulf Coast from Corpus Christi, Texas, to the Lake Charles, La., area, and about one-quarter of the Gulf Coast's oil refining capacity was taken offline, according to the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices have risen more than 17.5 cents since August 23, before the storm began. Crews will have to inspect the portions of the pipelines in Houston that are underwater to resume operations.

"We do expect gas prices to continue increasing upwards of 10 to 20 cents", Casselano said.

Suppliers in Chicago were trying to secure supplies after the Explorer Pipeline, which typically carries about 350,000 barrels a day (bpd) to the region, shut down. The cost of a gallon of gas at some stations across Marietta Thursday pushed $2.60, though others offered fuel for about 30 cents cheaper.

"Hurricane Harvey's damage to refineries in Texas and Louisiana could ripple throughout the southeast, causing gasoline shortages and rising prices", said Cooper in a news release.

In North Carolina alone, gas prices jumped 5 cents since Saturday to $2.60, according to AAA.

Concerns over fuel shortages ahead of the U.S. Labor Day extended weekend were mounting, said analysts at JBC Energy.

Average U.S. retail fuel prices have surged by more than a dime per gallon from a week ago, the AAA said early on Thursday.

Outages from Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent price volatility provide a reminder that despite the enormous changes on the USA supply side over the past decade, the country is still dealing with energy security vulnerabilities.

Those braving the lines were finding prices in Cleburne ranging from $2.19 at H-E-B Grocery store to $2.36 at Valero on East Henderson Street. Spot gasoline prices on the NYMEX have soared, with the news of Colonial adding another jolt, helping push the market up by more than 25 percent in the past week.

Colonial continues to ship as much gasoline and other refined products as available from Louisiana based refineries and other refineries on the Colonial system east of lake Charles, and will continue to do so as the markets return to normal, according to the press release. Pipelines and terminals have also been restarting over the weekend, assuaging worries over the ability of refineries to get the crude oil they need to operate.

The executive order, signed Thursday afternoon, will temporarily waive the cap on the maximum hours of service restrictions for fuel vehicles traveling in and through North Carolina to help maintain gas supplies.



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